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Hungary Tightens Grip on Online Gambling with Extensive Domain Blocks



This intensified regulatory effort by Hungary, through the SZTFH, to block unlicensed gambling domains reflects a broader trend of nations taking proactive steps to safeguard their gambling markets and ensure compliance with local and international laws. As Hungary navigates these complex regulatory waters, its approach offers insights into the challenges and opportunities of regulating the dynamic and often contentious world of online gambling.

A Resolute Stand Against Unlicensed Gambling

In a decisive move to regulate its online gambling landscape, Hungary, through the Hungarian Supervisory Authority for Regulatory Affairs (SZTFH), has reasserted its commitment to ensuring a legally compliant gambling environment. This initiative has led to the blocking of 450 gambling sites and affiliates operating without the requisite local license, a bold action signaling Hungary’s resolve to both safeguard its citizens and align with European legal standards.

Crackdown on Unlicensed Operators

The SZTFH’s recent operation targeted a wide range of online gambling services, including casino games, sports betting, and cryptocurrency gambling ventures. Among those affected were prominent industry players such as Unibet, BetOnline, Intertops, PokerStars, Parimatch, Playzilla, and Rabona. This sweeping action is part of Hungary’s ongoing efforts to regulate its online gambling market, a journey marked by legal challenges and significant policy shifts.

Navigating Legal Complexities

Since 2014, Hungary has been at the forefront of implementing stringent measures against unlicensed gambling entities. This regulatory zeal has sparked numerous legal battles, with operators contesting Hungary’s gambling regulations as contrary to European Union law. However, a pivotal 2017 ruling by the European Court of Justice led to the lifting of blocks against EU-based operators, prompting a reevaluation of Hungary’s regulatory approach.


Evolving Regulatory Landscape

In response to these legal intricacies, the Hungarian government undertook to partially liberalize its gambling market, a move seen as an effort to align with EU regulations. The SZTFH’s renewed blocking initiative underscores a regulatory environment that is both adapting to and shaping the contours of international gambling law. Operators seeking entry into the Hungarian market now face stringent conditions, including a prerequisite of having held a gambling license in another European Economic Area (EEA) country for a minimum of five years.

Operational Impacts and Compliance Measures

The ramifications of these regulatory adjustments have been far-reaching, compelling some operators to voluntarily exit the Hungarian market. Additionally, the SZTFH has enhanced its enforcement mechanisms, introducing regulations that limit financial transactions associated with unlicensed gambling activities. This includes the authority to direct banks to halt card payments to and from identified unlicensed sites, marking a significant escalation in the fight against illegal gambling operations.

Conclusion: Strengthening Market Integrity

Hungary’s rigorous actions against unlicensed gambling sites represent a critical step towards establishing a secure and legally compliant online gambling ecosystem. By enforcing these domain blocks, the SZTFH not only protects Hungarian consumers but also sets a precedent for regulatory compliance within the broader European context. As the Hungarian online gambling market continues to evolve, the balance between market openness and regulatory oversight will remain a key focus, ensuring a fair and competitive environment for all stakeholders.


Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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